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A deciduous shrub 6 to 10 ft high in some of its native haunts, of spreading habit; branchlets at first downy, ultimately glabrous and bluish grey. Leaves 1 to 2 in. long, about 1⁄4 in. wide, narrowly oblanceolate, entire, tapering to a short stalk at the base, rather more abruptly to the point; downy beneath when young, becoming glabrous. On the young shoots the leaves are alternate; on one-year-old shoots they are in tufts. Flowers in short-stalked corymbs, produced in April and May with the leaves from the joints of the previous summer’s wood; there are from one to three flowers in the cluster, each 5⁄8 in. in diameter; calyx and flower-stalk silky; petals white, orbicular. Fruit a berry, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. in diameter, globose, yellow with a reddish cheek, edible. Bot. Mag., t. 7420.
Native of western N. America on dry hillsides; introduced to Kew in 1870. In English gardens it must be regarded more as a curiosity (being the only species of its genus) than as an ornamental shrub, for it flowers indifferently and rarely bears fruit. It comes from regions (Colorado, Utah, California, etc.) where the summers are infinitely hotter and brighter than ours, and this summer heat, no doubt, is what it misses here. It is, however, quite hardy, and can be increased by layers.